Small Team, Big Results: How Exiger is Using LinkedIn Learning to Help Scale Gracefully
Exiger was started five years ago, with one client. Today, Exiger is the global leader in providing technology-enabled, sustainable compliance solutions to the financial and corporate marketplace. With 525 employees in eight locations across the globe, Exiger’s combination of multi-disciplinary subject matter expertise and disruptive purpose-built technology is changing the way companies tackle their biggest compliance challenges.
Maxine Swick has been a big part of that journey, as she was hired as Exiger’s first HR professional three-and-a-half years ago when the company had 50 people. Today, Swick is the Manager of Learning and Talent Development within an HR department of 18 professionals, serving employees in offices from Bucharest to Maryland.
“The job has evolved,” Swick explained. “We started needing the basics, like an applicant tracking system and a performance management system. And now, we are focused on building a culture that attracts and retains the best talent.”
The Challenge: How Could Exiger Scale Learning to 525 Employees Across the Globe
As the company has gone through hypergrowth over the past few years, requests for learning began piling up. Additionally, company leadership acknowledged that to build the culture they wanted – and to attract the best talent – they needed to give employees the opportunity to grow within the company.
So, they created an L&D team, and put Swick in charge of it.
“Senior leadership knew that in order to stay competitive, we had to provide what professionals are looking for from an employer – that there is a commitment from us that we will continue to develop them,” Swick said.
Providing learning to 525 employees is no small task. There were big needs – like new manager training and onboarding – but also hundreds of smaller needs, like help on Excel or communication.
At first, Swick and her team tried to fill that need with employee-generated PowerPoints geared toward new hire onboarding and industry compliance protocols. It was adequate, nothing more.
“Every Friday we would get together and record the training and upload the PowerPoint to our learning management system,” Swick said. “It wasn’t fun or exciting. It was checking off boxes.”
So, Swick and her colleague Ana Moreira, Director of People Operations, began looking for an external platform to provide wide-scale learning that could meet many of those needs. They took a call with LinkedIn Learning in early December.
Within 24 hours of the call, they bought the platform, investing in 500 licenses.
“We just fell in love,” Moreira said. “I had been a Premium LinkedIn user, so I had already taken many LinkedIn Learning courses. I knew how easy it was to use and how much value I got from the courses. Plus, our employee population here is young, so most of them already have LinkedIn Learning. There was immediate brand recognition.”
Swick and Moreira were impressed by the breadth and depth of the content, particularly within the technology library.
“We are a technology business,” Swick said. “Part of the big attraction for us to LinkedIn Learning was the technology suite of courses. Tech professionals are always learning because there is always something new coming out. Exiger Tech has the most individuals logged into the platform, 95% of them are using it.”
They also loved the LinkedIn Learning Pro feature where they can add their in-house content to the platform and track its performance.
“In our Maryland office, we have very specific requests from them because they deal primarily in research,” Moreira added. “With our Premium level of LinkedIn Learning, they can access the courses, but also upload their own content to the platform and use the LinkedIn Learning dashboard to track consumption.”
The Solution: Equipping Department Heads and Managers with Learning
Swick and Moreira wanted to drive as much excitement as they could for LinkedIn Learning. So, they began building anticipation for their February 11 roll-out at the January All Hands meeting. It was announced at that meeting that learning was a priority for 2019, and that the platform would become available soon.
“We had what we called a cascading strategy,” Moreira said. “After the All Hands, we worked with the marketing team to craft an email follow up. Then, we did what we called LinkedIn Learning ‘road shows’ with managers, where we walked them through the platform, explaining how it can help, and here’s what you can do. That was pivotal, because we knew we needed to get people feeling connected.”
“We worked with managers to identify skills gaps within their teams,” she continued. “We made them sub-admins of the platform so they could curate their own content to address those gaps. We thought that by decentralizing the message, it would be more successful.”
Making sure managers were fully comfortable with and competent in the platform was a priority. “The more comfortable they are, the more confident they are,” Swick said.
They work hard to keep the platform top of mind for all at Exiger. “The question we keep asking for literally everything we do is, ‘How can LinkedIn Learning be applied to this’?” Moreira said.
The Result: Money Saved and 63% Engagement as Learning Becomes "Woven" into Exiger's Culture
Of the 500 licenses Exiger released in early February 2019, more than half were immediately activated. Since, the engagement rate among activated users has been a crazy 63 percent, with each learner watching an average of 2 hours and 17 minutes each.
Additionally, Swick estimates the platform has – in five short months – saved the company $5,000 because staff who previously had to take outside courses for certifications can now cover it within LinkedIn Learning.
“It’s been fantastic,” Swick said. “I can’t imagine life without it.”
To continue to drive that engagement, Swick and Moreira have done things like partner with Exiger WINs (Women’s Initiative Networks) to create a company-wide challenge for specific video completions in honor of International Women’s Day, awarding the department with the highest participation rate in a specified period $500 donated to a related nonprofit of choice. They also are tying LinkedIn Learning to key business initiatives and are using it as part of a manager training program set to be launched this summer.
The Exiger Talent Acquisition team is also now trained to include the benefits of unlimited access to LinkedIn Learning as part of the recruitment process. And new hire onboarding includes a slide extolling the virtues of LinkedIn Learning, and practice logging on to the platform.
“We are trying to get it into everything we can,” Moreira said. “We want to weave in LinkedIn Learning as part of our fabric as a company.”
What does LinkedIn Learning “woven” into the fabric look like, at the employee-level? A perfect example is Wenchao Wang, a Toronto-based software engineer whose worked at Exiger for three years.
“My job is very fast-paced,” Wang said. “There is new information every day and we need to keep pace with the latest trends.”
He said the addition of LinkedIn Learning really helps, because it offers lectures on the newest technologies and all the code languages. He has already taken four courses, and particularly likes the quizzes that were included in each, which help him recognize what he was not fully understanding.
Allison Gordon, a managing consultant for Exiger Analytics in New York City, agreed. In the few months since she’s had access to LinkedIn Learning, she’s watched 27 – that’s right, 27 – courses.
“I dove right in,” Gordon said. “I took courses in skills I never had a chance to learn but also never had an avenue to get there.”
She’s even set a new learning goal for 2019 – master Python via LinkedIn Learning. Overall, she’s grateful for the platform, calling it “important to me.”
"When I first started this job, I didn't know what consulting was, and I was in a consulting role," Gordon said. "Almost two years in, I obviously know how to do what I'm doing, but to have all these courses available to me from ‘A to Z on any subject’ is a big deal to me.”